Ringing in the New Year with a Rose Parade After Party

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted any updates. The Fetterly Bed and Breakfast has been open to New Years house guests and although I welcome good company and enjoy my role as tour guide, I replace blogging time with meal preparation and mountains of dishes. While the dust settles, I thought I’d sneak in a little photo sharing.

Because of our close geographical proximity to Pasadena, the annual January 1st Rose Parade has always been a part of our New Year’s celebrations. It is a REALLY BIG DEAL in our part of the world. I know many friends from other states who aren’t at all interested in watching it on television, so perhaps part of the excitement is determined by whether the floats have ever been seen up close and personal.

Today’s Rose Floats sport highly elaborate , high-tech computerized animation and flowers, seeds and grasses from all over the world. Floats are designed and constructed by professional float building companies, taking up to a year to complete. Most of the Rose Parade activities are facilitated by hundreds of volunteer hours.

This year’s 124th Tournament of Roses Parade included 42 floral floats, 23 marching bands, and 21 equestrian units.

A young couple became man and wife on the Farmer’s Insurance float during the parade.

But the best parade moment was when an army sergeant deployed to Afghanistan, Eric Pazz, stepped off the parade float to surprise his wife and his four-year old son, three months before his redeployment date. What an emotional moment!

Another favorite float was the $247,000 flower-covered float submitted by the Defense Department. The float, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the July 1953 armistice that brought an end to the Korean War, is a replica of the Korean War Memorial.

In case I haven’t told you in the last fifteen minutes how I don’t “do” early morning cold…I watched the parade from the comforts of my home. As a high school student I walked the parade route–as a spectator–many times, but I’m more than happy to see the floats the following day, parked and ready for a more relaxed photo shoot.

Every square inch of visible float is required to be completely covered by seeds, flowers, fruit, vegetables, grasses or other vegetation. No unnatural substances are permitted. The floats are decorated in a two-stage process. The materials that won’t wilt or die are placed first–seeds, beans, bark, straw, seaweed, and then later the more delicate flowers.

After more than an hour of walking about, the little girls were tired and we didn’t want to ruin the experience, so we headed for home before I could see the San Gabriel float. But I was rewarded the next day when the float was parked in our city not far from home.

The San Gabriel Centennial float was the first in 40 years. The float won the Directors’ Award for Outstanding Merit in Design and Presentation and it was really beautiful . The float, covered in seed, cinnamon and flowers, depicts the historic Grapevine Arbor, with two oxen pulling a cart of grapes heading into the winepress. It also includes a bell representing El Camino Real and woven baskets full of grapes and oranges.

I’ll be sharing much more throughout this year as two anniversaries are celebrated–San Gabriel’s Centennial, and the 300th anniversary of the birth of Father Junipero Serra, founder of the San Gabriel Mission and instrumental in the formation of the state’s mission system. The city has a very rich history.

Oh, and one more thing.

I didn’t follow-up with telling you about our New Year’s Eve concert at the Disney Concert Hall, did I? I did take a couple of photos with my iPhone…that is until I was politely told to stop taking photos. Oops! No, that wasn’t embarrassing.

I got a couple of nice shots just under the wire. I’ll share them with you next time.

Now, back to my house guests. We have other field trips we need to plan.

38 thoughts on “Ringing in the New Year with a Rose Parade After Party

  1. Debra, so many of your posts are a trip down memory lane for me. Thanks for this one. I slept in a LOOONNNG time and completely missed the parade this year. It’s just not the same when you live where you can’t get Bob and Stephanie’s commentary (if they are even still around), anyway…

  2. I thought of you and almost called on the first when I saw the San Gabriel float in the parade (also from the cozy comfort of my cozy couch). The parade was lovely! I wish I’d realized they were going to display it close to you…at least the photos you share are wonderful. So many touching moments during the parade this year. Here’s to a flower filled and memory packed year ahead for us both. Ellen

  3. Lovely, Debra! Learned new information on what it takes to present the annual Rose Parade. I probably would have cried seeing the army sergeant surprise his wife and little boy. Enjoy your guests! :)

    • I am sure you would have cried, Marie. I can’t imagine that anyone could just sit there and not be tremendously moved. Watching it on television we were prepared for what was about to happen, so it was pure joy to watch the realization wash over this dear wife and then the little guy as they caught on to what was happening. His wife was told she’d won a contest to come to the parade and represent military families. She had NO idea! Heartwarming, isn’t it? Nice thoughts to start the new year off with joy!

    • Thank you for stopping by to share the “parade floats” with me, Karen. The San Gabriel float was a big surprise to me. It was smaller than many of the corporate floats, and didn’t look that special to me on the television. But I was so favorably impressed when seeing it in person. The float artists are very dedicated. Many of them are simply volunteers! :-)

  4. Thought of you while watching the parade and wondered if you and your family were enjoying it as much as we were. one of my cousins lived in Pasadena for awhile, and I know they always hosted a big party to celebrate. love to you this day and have a fun b and b day of adventures

    • Kate, you make me smile to think you thought of me. How lovely. When my children were in school they had friends who lived very close to the parade route and often spent the night and had easy access to the festivities. We “cruised” the parade route late at night on the 31st and witnessed all the crazy behavior! I can’t imagine putting up with all that chaos in order to see the parade up close, but I’m not much of a party animal! :-) Hope your year is beginning strong and healthy, my friend.

  5. How amazing, Debra! I’ve heard of the Rose Parade, but never seen it, so your photos are a revelation. Looking forward to seeing you back in circulation when you once more have the house to yourselves. :-)

    • I’m so glad I shared some photos with you, Perpetua. It’s incredible to see the detail that artists create with little tiny seeds and grasses, along with of course those gorgeous roses! I celebrate artists and the creativity they share with us. The work that goes into something this impermanent! I can hardly imagine! :-)

    • I’m so glad you were watching the Parade, Nancy! Wasn’t that moment with the military family reunion spectacular? I wonder if anyone had a dry eye with that one. I was so glad the little boy looked so happy. It could have been a little overwhelming! :-)

    • The first week of January was warm and sunny, Eva. It’s cold and rainy again, but it was a nice way to welcome visitors who came into town specifically for Rose Bowl events. I always think of people who’ve left behind cold climates and would just enjoy a few days to thaw out! :-) I’m so glad to have give you a little taste of happy childhood memories! oxo

  6. Oh my what a parade of colour, I needed some colour today, thank you!
    the time and skills that go into these floats is incredible, I do wonder about the cost though !
    Looking forward to our next field trip together :)

    • It’s interesting that you mentioned the cost, Claire. I know that at the city level the funds are typically raised by volunteer fundraising, and for some corporate sponsorships it’s advertising. But I have also wondered how it all works together. It is a very expensive venture that brings a great deal of money back into the city of Pasadena. It’s paired with the annual Rose Bowl game (football). Probably more than you care to know, right? But it is a beautiful parade. I’m surprised it has lasted all these years! :-)

    • Thank you, Meg. The parade is really fun and something that I wish everyone could experience just once. It’s something very unique that feels like “simpler times” that ushers in the new year with a very optimistic flavor. I did assist with float decoration one year and it’s an amazing process. It takes hundreds of volunteer hours. Again, that’s part of what makes it special. There aren’t very many activities in our busy lives that pull people together in such an artful way! :-)

    • I’m glad you caught the flavor of how beautiful these floats are, Fiona. It’s at times when I’m trying to photograph something this unique and so large that I wish I had stronger photographic skills!

    • The Dr. Seuss float was so great, and children of ALL ages were drawn to it! The San Gabriel float was special, too, because the designer was a young man who grew up in school with my children. It’s fun to share the experience of seeing them. I wish I had the ability to share just how big this event is here. Half a million people actually spend the night on the street in anticipation. It’s crazy!

  7. It sounds like your house guests are keeping you really busy. I love the sound of the float parade and what a range of experiences were on board – a wedding and a teary reunion! Looking forward to seeing your few NYE images xx

    • It has been a full week, Charlie, but I think starting tomorrow I’m going to feel that the holidays are fully behind us. I have mixed feelings about that! I’ll be sharing about the Concert Hall soon. We enjoyed ourselves and my photos are meager, but after being publicly busted on my breaking of the rules, I feel an obligation to at least share them! :-)

  8. I didn’t see one second of this year’s parade as we were at a brunch hosted by a friend … so I appreciate your next-day effort to get some good pics! I imagine that the details stand out when seeing them in person. Bummer on your NY Eve pics … but hey – that’s ok … hope you had a good time.

  9. WOW! The money, the hardwork, the creativity and a lot of thinking, the preparations it took to create even just one float. I can only imagine. And wow! you captured the floats very well. I was going to volunteer there but just didn’t get the chance. I would had been there without a sweat of paying. So vibrant. How I wish I did, how I wish I did go there to see it myself.
    :D I went to 4 Missions in one month! :D

  10. We usually watch the parade here, but, were on our way home from MN and missed it. We didn’t miss the news coverage of the sergeant and his family. That was so touching, wasn’t it? Your pictures are really wonderful and give a better idea of how rich the colors are. I would love to see some of these floats up close. Thank you, Debra, for sharing them in between your duties at the Fetterly B & B.

  11. Happy New Year Debra! What a fun event. Mike has always wanted to go and your pictures now have me wanting to as well. The kids would LOVE this! I’m glad you are having a great start to the New Year entertaining family and friends. Enjoy!

    • And Happy New Year to you, too! I sure do hope that your home repairs and all storm related trauma is calmed soon! I can’t imagine how busy you must be! The floats are such a tradition and we always enjoy this time of year. But it’s time to move on now. I think I’m ready! :-)

  12. What an exciting day for your Granddaughters! It’s always something special to watch any parade but the Rose Parade tops most lists. I’m glad you were eventually able to see the San Gabriel float. Now that the holidays have passed and the visitors have left, hang the “No Vacancy” sign in the window and get some much-needed R&R. Happy New Year, Debra!

    • Happy New Year to you, too, John. I have been thinking that perhaps our B & B needs to close for a little while! We may be getting a little too old to do this non-stop! I don’t always recharge that quickly and I need my energy to keep up with those two little girls. They are growing up too quickly and I don’t want to miss a moment! With your love of roses I do wish you could see the Rose Parade floats sometime. The variety of roses used is simply wonderful!

I always enjoy hearing from you!

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